St Anne’s Cathedral, Cathedral Quarter. Church of Ireland cathedral.

This is Belfast Cathedral, and gives the Cathedral Quarter is name.

Cathedral Quarter is a cultural and nightlife zone of the city and features the Metropolitan Arts Centre, the Black Box theatre, bars and restaurants.

The Church is also known as St Anne’s, dedicated the mother of the Virgin Mary.

It belongs to the Church of Ireland, which is a branch of the Anglican or Episcopalian tradition.

The Church of Ireland is one of the two main Protestant faiths in Northern Ireland, the other being the Presbyterian church.

This church may look old but it was opened in 1904.

It was built round a smaller church in Classical style (like St Georges), that had been opened in 1776.

For nearly 80 years the cruciform church was a work in progress, with sections completed bit by bit.

The Spike, known as the 40m Spire of Hope, was the last part was added in 2007.

The Spire was built instead of a traditional tower because the foundations of the Cathedral stand on soft clay and mud – known as Belfast Sleech. Buildings that are too heavy can lean or tilt like the Albert memorial.

The Cathedral is an example of the Hiberno-Romaneque style. This is an Irish style of architecture taking inspiration from the medieval churches built by the Normans that featured semi-circular ‘Roman’ arches.

The only feature of the old St Anne’s Church to remain in the present-day Cathedral is the Good Samaritan Window.

The Cathedral was severely damaged in the Belfast Blitz of May 1941. This bombing destroyed much of the Cathedral area, hence the new buildings in this area.

Inside, many of the decorative elements of the building have been given in memoriam. Each of the mighty pillars inside the church represents an aspect of life in our province: North side – science, linen industry, healing, agriculture, music; south side – theology, shipbuilding, freemasonry, the arts, womanhood. Half columns (responds) represent cardinal virtues – courage, justice, temperance and wisdom.

Above the West Door, facing us, is a memorial to choir men who lost their lives in the war of 1914-1918.

Sparkling at the west end are mosaics representing Creation, St Patrick’s return to Ireland and Isaiah’s vision in the Temple.

There are many other things to see inside the church. These include the the tomb of Lord Carson; a prominent leader of the Unionist movement that campaigned against Home Rule before the Great War. Home Rule was a plan by the Westminster Parliament to give Ireland a form of devolved government based in Dublin. Carson and other opposed wanting to remain part of the UK.

The Titanic Funeral Pall, which is a modern memorial to the 1,517 lives lost in the tragic 1912 sinking of the passenger liner Titanic in the form of a funeral pall that is a cloth that covers a casket or coffin at funerals. The pall, made of 100 per cent Merino felt, is backed with Irish linen and dyed an indigo blue, evoking an image of the midnight sea in which the Titanic finally came to rest. This stunning memorial to those who died when the historic ship hit an iceberg in April 1912 has been made by Helen O’Hare and Wilma Kirkpatrick, textile artists at the University of Ulster.

Finally, there are many regimental colours in the Military Chapel.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on guided walking tours around Belfast visit this .